Sunday, July 16, 2006

Frequent Small Meals + Warren Sonbert



A colleague, Andy Ditzler, musician and media librarian, is also a host of a monthly film program at Eyedrum Gallery in Atlanta. Ditzler is a rare film lover, and his program FILM LOVE, produced by Frequent Small Meals (FSM), screens rarely seen films with extensive program notes which are available on the FSM website. Last week he exhibited short films by Warren Sonbert (pictured left). Sonbert, who died from complications from AIDS in 1995, was one of the New York downtown art darlings of the 1960s whose early works documented his view of that world. With his unique, thematic aggregate-image editing style, Sonbert has been considered a master of avant-gard cinema. Unfortunately, until recently his films have not been available for screening. Fortunately the Estate Project for Artists with AIDS, has made restoring his works a priority. Much of his early work concerns his New York life, later works are more varied with images from his international travels. Many of the images in a later work Honor and Obey (1988) capture dynamics between people, sharp accusations, frustration, humor, avoidance, it's a less stylized and constructed version of what Bill Viola would do decades later in his video art. Ditzler (pictured below right) showed two of Sonbert's early works Amphetamine (1966) and Where Did Our Love Go? (1966) plus two later works, Honor and Obey (1988), and what is considered his most accomplished work, Friendly Witness (1989). Being a sound freak, and something of a Michel Chion afficionado, I can't get with Sonbert's argument that sound and image don't go together, although I don't disagree that images have their own rhythm, it's just that those rhythms often have attendant sound and vice versa. Not surprising then that I grooved on the first two works more than Honor and Obey--although that work evidenced some compellingly quixotic editing poetics. Sadly, the program ran longer than I expected and I had to leave missing Friendly Witness which I can only hope to see at another juncture. But here's the thing, Amphetamine gives a discrete view of young gay white men shooting up, yes, speed, in an apartment while the soundtrack plays endless Supreme cuts, with their white-pop crossover sound. In its time these scenes of drug use and mundane homosexuality (boys kissing, sitting dazedly, reading books, and doing drugs) were shocking and even now seem so with boys slowly (and I mean slowly) injecting themselves using syringes with vacuum bulb heads, given that Sonbert was only 19 years old in 1966, but also is terribly sad, and a harbinger of the horrible storm that was to come 20 years later. Even the sweet moments of two men giving a full mouthed kiss as Sonbert's camera joyous circles them, and then captures a glimpse of furtive lovemaking and later the drug-addled afterglow, felt elegiac. The real discovery for me was with Where Did Our Love Go? and its potent utilization of the teen-tough girl/Maria Callas pre-performance art pop-dynamics of The Shangri-Las, in particular "He Cried" (a 1966 reworking of Jay & the Americans "She Cried"), and "Past, Present, and Future"(1966) which weaves angst, love, and ennui into spoken word monologue recited over Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata". These played over informal images of the formal space of the art museum where you couldn't quite imagine the tight leather and go-go boot motorcycle chick look of the Shangra-Las fitting in but then moves to the land of Warhol and a rare 360 degree view of The Factory in full-party and down-time creative mode. I had really forgotten how white that world was and suddenly remembered that Andy Warhol had a rather dim view of African American intellectual and creative ability. (Racism: it's an all purpose eraser. First no art world head table (read:white) folks will acknowledge your avant-garde work due to their belief that black people don't do that and then when they see the evidence of the success of that racist application--the absence of such work--use that to explain how black people don't do that work.) Fortunately, as artist Cauleen Smith reminded me this weekend, that art world dynamic is much better than it used to be. Racial exclusivity notwithstanding, it was interesting to see Sonbert's eye, ear, and editing.

4 Comments:

At 12:36 AM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 09.28
oakley sunglasses, jordan shoes, ugg boots, louis vuitton, michael kors outlet, louboutin outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton outlet, prada outlet, tiffany and co, nike air max, cheap oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet, louboutin, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton, michael kors, burberry, louboutin shoes, ugg boots, prada handbags, louis vuitton outlet, uggs on sale, longchamp, longchamp outlet, tory burch outlet, chanel handbags, ugg boots, replica watches, nike air max, gucci outlet, ray ban sunglasses, christian louboutin outlet, tiffany jewelry, burberry outlet online, michael kors outlet, nike outlet, nike free, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton, polo ralph lauren outlet, ugg boots, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, replica watches, oakley sunglasses

 
At 12:39 AM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

nike roshe, vans pas cher, true religion jeans, longchamp pas cher, ray ban uk, lacoste pas cher, nike air max, michael kors, kate spade handbags, mulberry, air max, nike free, coach outlet, true religion outlet, north face, nike air max, lululemon, coach factory outlet, air jordan pas cher, nike air max, hollister, michael kors, true religion jeans, true religion jeans, hogan, north face, ray ban pas cher, sac longchamp, burberry, michael kors, oakley pas cher, ralph lauren pas cher, nike blazer, air force, hermes, michael kors, abercrombie and fitch, coach outlet, timberland, louboutin pas cher, vanessa bruno, converse pas cher, hollister pas cher, nike roshe run, new balance pas cher, coach purses, tn pas cher, sac guess, nike free run uk, ralph lauren uk, kate spade outlet

 
At 12:40 AM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

nfl jerseys, bottega veneta, giuseppe zanotti, birkin bag, insanity workout, mont blanc, vans shoes, gucci, converse, oakley, hollister, louboutin, celine handbags, beats by dre, nike air max, hollister, jimmy choo shoes, instyler, wedding dresses, north face outlet, reebok shoes, soccer shoes, baseball bats, asics running shoes, chi flat iron, hollister, nike air max, nike roshe, mac cosmetics, longchamp, ferragamo shoes, abercrombie and fitch, herve leger, new balance, ghd, iphone 6 cases, converse outlet, nike huarache, lululemon, p90x workout, vans, soccer jerseys, mcm handbags, ralph lauren, babyliss, valentino shoes, nike trainers, timberland boots, ray ban, north face outlet, moncler

 
At 12:46 AM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

juicy couture outlet, links of london, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, sac louis vuitton pas cher, moncler, moncler outlet, pandora charms, canada goose outlet, karen millen, canada goose, lancel, canada goose, swarovski, ugg boots uk, ugg pas cher, hollister, montre pas cher, moncler, canada goose uk, doke gabbana outlet, michael kors handbags, coach outlet, louis vuitton, michael kors outlet, replica watches, doudoune canada goose, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, moncler, toms shoes, wedding dresses, barbour jackets, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, swarovski crystal, barbour, moncler, thomas sabo, marc jacobs, moncler, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, canada goose, moncler, pandora jewelry, pandora jewelry, pandora charms, supra shoes, canada goose, juicy couture outlet, bottes ugg, michael kors outlet online
ninest123 09.28

 

Post a Comment

<< Home